On Thursday, Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley A. Strassel cataloged a series of 2010 statements by President Barack Obama and his surrogates at the time the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued its first “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) list for conservative groups in August 2010.
Strassel notes that on August 9, 2010, Obama blasted Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by the Koch Brothers: “Right now all around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads… And they don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation,” warned Obama.
On August 21, 2010, Obama repeated the attack on “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names,” saying, “You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation… The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.”
In September 2010, Obama continued to pound on conservative tax-exempt groups, repeating the talking points at several events. Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod and Democratic Senator Max Baucus repeated the anti-Koch talking points as well.
Meanwhile, notes Strassel, the Democratic Party followed up with fundraising on the theme and filed an IRS complaint against the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, alleging it had violated its tax-exempt status.
In October 2010, Obama ramped up the wattage and declared that conservative tax-exempt groups represented a “threat to our democracy.”
Strassel’s presentation of the coordinated 2010 Obama attacks against conservatives makes it clear that the context in which the IRS targeting that began that year was one surrounded by bombastic rhetoric fomented by Obama and his campaign apparatus.
“Yet we are to believe that a few rogue IRS employees just happened during that time to begin systematically targeting conservative groups?” writes Strassel. “A mere coincidence that among the things the IRS demanded of these groups were ‘copies of any contracts with and training materials provided by Americans for Prosperity?'”